Highlands & Islands

Raising the Barra: Photographer looks beyond isle's blue seas

Red phone box on Barra Image copyright Malena Persson
Image caption The project Barra: Beyond the Blue aims to show different aspects of life on the Hebridean isle

A Swedish photographer's fascination with the Isle of Barra has led to her documenting its people and landscapes.

Malena Persson started her project in November last year following earlier trips to the island in the Western Isles.

She said she was first drawn to Barra after reading an article about its Caribbean-like turquoise water beaches.

But in her project, Barra: Beyond the Blue, Ms Persson said she hoped to show other sides to life on the isle.

Image copyright Malena Persson
Image caption Surfers have been among the subjects for the photographer's photo documentary
Image copyright Malena Persson

The graduate of Edinburgh's Napier University and Sweden's Linneaus University plans to create a "photo story" of Barra.

Subjects for the photographs include the island's fishing industry, crofting and barren landscapes.

Some of her images will be exhibited at London's Old Truman Brewery from 23 to 27 June.

Image copyright Malena Persson
Image caption Harvesting cockles on a beach
Image copyright Malena Persson
Image caption Fishing has provided Ms Persson with a major subject for her project

Ms Persson, who has mostly lived in Scotland since 2003, said: "Years ago I was enchanted by the Caribbean-esque turquoise waters that surrounds Barra after reading an online article about this summer-time haven.

"I quickly added a visit to the island on to my bucket list. But instead of coming here as a tourist during the sunny season, to indulge myself in beach life, another opportunity presented itself.

"When a friend moved to Isle of Barra, I started taking a great interest in the Outer Hebrides, and the idea of a photography project went from loose pub talk, to a project set in stone."

She added: "My research assured me that this small barren island had a lot more on offer than the mesmerizing colour of the sea, which is what the travel guide books so often advertise."

Image copyright Malena Persson
Image caption Crofting has also provided an inspiration for her work
Image copyright Malena Persson
Image copyright Malena Persson

Ms Persson's other work has included photographing Edinburgh's Grassmarket Community Project and this year's Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Another of her projects is called Seven Bridge, a photo documentary of the Shimanami Kaido route in Japan.

Image copyright Katie Blair Matthews
Image caption Ms Persson became fascinated with Barra several years ago and has made many visits to the isle since